James D. Pender, Master Gunnery Sergeant, USMC (Retired), 1956 – 1983
Born August 8, 1937 to Mr. and Mrs. Jonah Pender of Wilson, North Carolina.
The youngest of ten children. I grew up during a very difficult time for my
family when survival was having the maturity and determination to make things better. I had my first job when I was eight years old at a local grocery store. I remained at this job throughout my early school years. I was considered a sports enthusiast because I participated in all the sports the school had to offer. My favorite was basketball where I received a scholarship offer to attend Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC, but elected to join the Marine Corps to help my family financially.
I began my Marine Corps career with anticipation and pride at Parris Island,
SC boot camp in 1956. After graduation I received orders to Montford Point, now (Camp Johnson), NC to attend basic steward school and received MOS 3611 Steward Cook. From there I went to Quantico, VA and was assigned to work in the Bachelor Officer’s Mess. I spent the remainder of my first enlistment there. After careful consideration I decided to reenlist for six years and was promoted to Corporal E-4, also, a change of duty station to Futemna, Okinawa. In 1961 I returned to CONUS with orders to Force Troops, Camp Lejeune, NC. I made one Med cruise with 2dBattalion 8th Marines during the Cuban missile crisis.
In 1963 my next assignment took me to FMFPAC, Camp Smith, Honolulu, Hawaii. My primary duties were at the Officer’s Club but I was also a squad leader on the Honor Guard. At some period during the three years I spent in Hawaii the Marine Corps decided to make Steward Duty a voluntary duty assignment and subsequently, my MOS was change to 3371, Cook.
In 1966 I returned to Quantico, VA and worked as watch captain in the
Bachelor Officer’s Mess at Liversedge Hall until I received orders for South
Vietnam. Before leaving I was promoted to Staff Sergeant arriving in Vietnam
June 1967 to serve with 3dMarine Division Food Service under the very able, our own, Sec/Tres then Captain Ed Gray. I departed Vietnam in July 1968 for Cherry Point, NC to serve as Food Service Manager for 3dLAAM Battalion. I attended the Food Service Management School at Camp Johnson while a member of this Battalion.
In 1969 a very able, our own, Sec/Tres Ed Gray had an opening at the Marine
Barracks, NAD Earle for Food Service Technician. Thirty days later I was off to MB, Earle, NJ. and the most rewarding and challenging duty I had so far in my career. I remained at Earle until 1973 when I was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant and headed back to Okinawa, Japan again, where I was assigned to 3dTank Battalion as Dining Facility Manager.
In 1974 I returned to Camp Lejeune, NC as the Food Technician for Force
Troops and we administered basic Field Skills Training to include training with the Mobile Bakery Unit. In 1975 I volunteered to return to MB, NAD, Earle, NJ. After two years and promotion to Master Sergeant I received orders back to Camp Lejeune, NC where I was the Dining Facility Manager at the Rifle Range and later at the Brig. I was promoted to Master Gunnery Sergeant in1981, consequently, I received orders back to Okinawa, Japan as Food Technician for the 3dMarine Division. After finishing my tour on the “rock” I returned to Camp Lejeune, NC Support Battalion, MCB to be FAP to Camp Geiger to run the Messhall. In August 1983, I retired with twenty-seven years and eight months.
Since retiring from the Marine Corps I have graduated from Cape Fear
Community college with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business
Administration. I recently retired from AOL Time-Warner in the Sales and
Marketing Department. My plans are to continue my studies at a four-year
institute and possibly graduate school.